The American Bankers Association has formed a group to lobby on behalf of rural lenders.

The ABA's Agricultural Credit Task Force will be made up of executives from banks serving the rural market, and it will seek out lobbying opportunities and try to identify regulations that inhibit the industry from serving farmers and ranchers, the group said.

The group's first meeting will be on Tuesday at the Nebraska Bankers Association's offices in Lincoln, Neb. The main topic of discussion at the first meeting will be the Farm Credit System, which the ABA says has "unfair advantages" because it is a government sponsored enterprise that competes directly with banks.

Matt Williams, president and chief executive of Gothenburg State Bank in Nebraska and chairman of the ABA, will chair of the task force.

"Banks have provided credit to farmers and ranchers since the founding of our country, and we want to continue our mission as the most reliable, most innovative lenders to agriculture," said Williams in a news release. "We want policies and regulations in place that will prevent banks from being disadvantaged in the agricultural credit marketplace."

The task force has nine members, in addition to Williams. They are: Fred Bruning, president of Bruning State Bank in Nebraska; Steve Daggett, president and CEO of Midwest Bank in Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Kreg Denton, senior vice president of First Community Bank in Fancy Farm, Ky.; Curt Covington, senior vice president of Bank of the West in Fresno, Calif.; Kim Greenland, market president of Great Western Bank in Mount Ayr, Iowa; Leonard Wolfe, president of United Bank and Trust, Marysville, Kan.; George Beattie, CEO of the Nebraska Bankers Association in Lincoln; Curt Everson, president of the South Dakota Bankers Association in Pierre; and Joe Witt, president and CEO of the Minnesota Bankers Association in Eden Prairie.

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